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Poker History The History of Poker If you read extensively around the history of poker there are many differences of opinion regarding the exact origin of Poker and often they can be conflicting. It is most likely that Poker took its current form and name from elements of many different games. The general consensus is that because of its basic principles Poker is definitely very old! The Origin of Poker There are as many stories & theories regarding where Poker originated as there are theories regarding the origin of the game itself. One thing appears to be certain that Poker did not pre-date playing cards. However, even the origins of playing cards are difficult to pin down. There are dozens of theories. Some say playing cards were developed by the Chinese as a variation on dominoes. Others state that Poker originates from the Persian game "as nas", which is a 5-player Persian game, requiring a special deck of 25 cards with 5 suits. Another theory surrounds the French game "poque". The French settled in New Orleans in around 1480 and played Poque, a card game involving bluffing and betting. This was stated to be the first use of a deck consisting of spades, diamonds, clubs, and hearts. Fragments of cards have apparently been dated to the 12th or 13th century in Egypt. Some people suggest that modern cards originated from the Indian card game of Ganjifa. Then again others believe that Tarot decks, used for fortune telling, are an obvious link in the history of the playing card. Gaming has always been very popular throughout history and so it is possible that different versions were developed by different cultures across the world - so no easy answer!
The Earliest Poker "Sighting" One of the earliest written references to Poker was in the nineteenth century. These were references to rules for a so-called "cheating game," which was then being played on the Mississippi riverboats and this was then called Poker. The game described was played with 20 cards, using only the aces, kings, queens, jacks and tens. Two to four people could play, and each was dealt five cards. By the time it was actually documented poker had become the number one "cheating game" on the Mississippi boats.
Poker - The Name The origin of the word Poker is also heavily discussed. Most say that it comes from an eighteenth-century French game, poque. However, there are other references to pochspiel, which is a German game. In pochspiel, there is an element of bluffing, where players would indicate whether they wanted to pass or open by rapping on the table and saying, "Ich Poche!" Some say it could have been derived from the Hindu word, pukka. Yet another possible explanation for the word poker, is that it came from a version of the word - poke - used by pickpockets and that by adding an r to the word made it into "poker." The thought was that if they used the word "poker" in front of their victims they would not be aware that they were the "poke"!. There are those who also believe that "poke" probably came from the word "hocus-pocus", a term widely used by magicians around the world.
Poker - The revolution In 2003, Poker became televised and Texas Hold'em was brought to the world. Tiny cameras enabled the TV audience to see the players' hole cards and it was these cameras that played a critical role in the "drama" of poker, with the audiences being able to see players' high-stake bets and bluffs. This has turned poker into a major sporting event that draws all ages, sexes and races.
Poker - Online While the game of poker has been played for nearly 200 years, the online version of the game is, in comparison, very recent. Online poker has now sky rocketed and has forever changed the world of poker. Other types of online gambling sites were launched significantly before the first online poker room. It was not until 1998 that the first online poker room was established. Other online poker rooms soon joined the ranks. However it was not until 2001 that the two most dominant online poker firms entered the industry. Poker steadily gained popularity and the industry continued to grow. One of the key elements in the next stage of online poker development was the launch of a poker information website in 2004. It was then that Online poker exploded. The increasing popularity of poker resulted in even more play at the virtual tables and so the industry's revenues more than tripled!